Amid a resurgence of Covid cases across Southeast Asia and Europe, the government on Thursday warned UTs and states not to let their guard down and advised them to continue focus on the five-fold strategy of “test, track, treat, follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccinate” while resuming economic and social activities in their jurisdiction.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, in his letter to all states and union territories, also asked them to ensure adequate testing of samples to ensure timely detection of new variants and also to motivate people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.”States should also ensure that adequate number of samples are submitted to INSACOG network through Sentinel sites as per the protocol issued by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), which is the Nodal Agency for INSACOG, to ensure timely detection of new variants while maintaining adequate testing as per the protocols for testing laid by ICMR. Effective surveillance by monitoring of emerging clusters of new cases, if any, testing as per norms and monitoring of ILI and SARI cases shall be taken up on a continued basis to ensure no early warning signals are missed and spread of infection can be controlled,” Mr Bhushan said in the letter.
The state should create required awareness and ensure adherence to COVID Appropriate Behavior, like wearing of face masks, maintaining physical distancing in all public areas/gatherings and practice of effective hand & respiratory hygiene, it said. The government had released guidelines for graded resumption of economic activities on February 25 wherein the states were guided to resume the economic activities duly analyzing the local epidemiological situation (including positivity rates and bed occupancy), to decide on the relaxation/restriction measure. With a spike in COVID-19 cases across Southeast Asia and some countries of Europe, a high-level meeting was chaired by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on March 16 where the states were advised to focus on aggressive genome sequencing, intensified surveillance and overall vigil on the Covid situation, Mr Bhushan said in the letter. India is seeing a steady decline in Covid Cases, with daily cases now below 5,000 mark. (NDTV)